4 PRACTICAL LIFE SKILLS TO PREPARE CHILDREN FOR THE REAL WORLD
With more and more children aspiring to fly the nest in their late teens and early adulthood, it is necessary for parents to start imparting some practical life skills very early. As parents we are all learning on the job, so here are 4 practical life skills I have put together that are derived from my personal experience of educating a child overseas, New age parenting is not an easy task. These 4 practical life skills that new age parents can inculcate in their children, can be starting points:
Adaptability: Most children have dazzling impressions about living and studying overseas. The same child who finds it difficult to move from the couch and fetch a glass of water, is willing to chart an independent life two continents away. This aspiration is endearing, but the preparation to this effect has to start from home. Research and dialogue about the university and region a child wishes to study is of utmost importance. Even something as basic as the climate of a place can cause adaptability issues in the future. Know your child, know their ability to adapt, communicate and nurture positive habits.
Money Management: Children should be an active part of conversations regarding college fees, living expenses, travel costs related to their study abroad. If there are loans or other liabilities that the family intends to take on, the child should be informed about the situation. There is no shame in making a child understand the financial viewpoint of their decision and charting out a systematic plan for their spending pattern, whilst living on their own. Effective money management is a lifetime skill, and parents should encourage and inculcate these skills.
Decision making: What program is right for me? Which subjects should I select? Do I need that new phone/laptop? Do I need to buy another dress? Should I go out drinking tonight? Is this gang good to hang out with?
Diverse questions, diverse situations; Yes, your now grown-up babies will be asking all these and more and seeking their own answers. Keep those communication channels flowing. While technology has made the world seem closer, there will be occasions when you will not be present to answer all their questions. Be a part of your child’s world, understand their predicaments, know their challenges and seek to build a friendly two-way relationship. Convey to your children the comfort and confidence to make wise decisions, and be there for them if they falter.
Time Management: This is definitely a tough one to achieve. Social media, smart phones, peer pressure, and related distractions, they are all here to stay. The challenge is to make our children understand the balance they need to achieve while navigating this technological world that is such an intrinsic part of their lives. Teach them to evaluate the pros and cons of their decisions. Encourage them to set their own deadlines and task completion schedules. Monitor them and boost them, avoid regimenting them.
And while we grapple with the bitter sweet experience of watching them go into the vast world, let’s not forget that although we are parents, but we are humans first. There is no perfect potion to perfect parenthood. Keep learning, keep growing alongside your children and their experiences; and Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!
Priya is Content Manager for Bassett Education India. She has extensive knowledge and experience in the field of creative writing. She has formally trained as a speech and drama teacher and has a natural inclination for working within an education and training setup. Her work experience has primarily been in Singapore. That and her passion to travel has helped shape her global outlook. As a mother of two grown up daughters, Priya is enthusiastic about sharing her practical parenting experiences.